Yallop starts as Australia draw with USA
West Ham United midfielder Tameka Yallop featured for Australia as they drew 0-0 with the USA in their final group match of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The result means that the Aussies finish in 3rd place in Group G, but look to have qualified as one of the best third placed teams after picking up four points,
The Matildas went into the fixture looking to qualify for the knockout stages on the tournament having beaten neighbours New Zealand in their opening group fixture, in which Yallop scored the game’s opening goal.
The US had managed to secure three points in their match against the Kiwi’s, as they also went into this match knowing that a win would see them progress into the next round.
Going into the match, Australia were forced into a late change, with Caitlin Foord withdrawing during the warm-up, Mary Fowler replaced the Arsenal forward.
The game kicked off with Yallop’s side having the better of the early exchanges, whipping in some nice set pieces courtesy of Steph Catley. The United States were a threat on the counter charge but were more than happy to allow their opponents to dominate the ball.
20 minutes flashed by before a major chance presented itself to Fowler, who was making her Olympic debut – with the Montpellier forward smashing an effort onto the crossbar.
Many players on the pitch know and are friends with their opponents, having played against and with each other in America’s NWSL, but this was by no means a friendly contest. Yallop was lucky to escape a yellow card for a challenge on Samantha Mewis midway into the opening 45 minutes.
The US had the ball in the net on 33 minutes, but VAR deemed that the former Tottenham Hotspur loanee’s shoulder had strayed into an offside position and the goal was chalked off.
With half time approaching, the Matildas had a golden opportunity to take the lead. Sam Kerr raced in behind the US defence, only to be denied by a crucial intervention Julie Ertz – who had tracked the forward all the way.
Much of the same followed in the second half, as both sides were cautious of giving anything away to their opposite number.
Defensively, the Matildas continued to look solid, catching the US offside with their high-line on a number of occasions.
Tackles continued to fly in, as former West Ham midfielder Emily van Egmond could consider herself lucky to not end up in the referee’s book after a poor challenge.
Changes were made by both sides in the closing stages, but as the clock counted down, it seemed as though both sides were content with a point. With five minutes remaining, Kerr raced away into the US final third, before teeing up Kyah Simon, but the Striker couldn’t execute the pass needed to find Yallop, who was in space and open.
The game came to its conclusion, with Australia now preparing to face Team GB in the Quarter-finals in the competition.
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